MOB! MOB! - Who Do You Want?...
It’s rare that we come on here and give thoughts and opinions on the anime industry outside of giving our impressions and reviews on the feature presentations themselves, however this one sucks. In a video published to YouTube, voice actor Kyle McCarley, released a statement regarding his future with Mob Psycho 100 and its upcoming third season, which is set to premiere in less than a month on what is now, the only leading anime service globally, Crunchyroll. Now monopolising the market, Crunchyroll have also somehow obtained the licensing rights to localise Mob Psycho 100 III, this including the right to sign cast members to their roles on the show for which McCarley, was the lead and titular protagonist Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama. McCarley noted that the production side of things had changed and that Crunchyroll were not coming to terms with signing talent linked to SAG-AFTRA union contracts.
So what does this necessarily mean? Well, the English cast of Mob Psycho 100 is about to go an unwanted makeover with non-union actors taking over the roles of our beloved cast of quirky Espers… and Reigen. While I’m not one to name and shame, it’s hard not to point fingers directly at Crunchyroll’s new President Rahul Purini, whom McCarley tried to negotiate a terms of agreement to work Season 3 without a union contract on the agreement that Purini would sit down with SAG-AFTRA, and come to terms with some sort of understanding as to why it was important for voice actors to have a union contract and some security. This was swiftly declined, and both parties have not come to terms for a majority of the cast to reprise their respective roles. The response McCarley received via phone call from Crunchyroll officials, and not Purini himself was simply “was not going to agree to those terms”. Pathetic.
This isn’t the first time big money corps have decisively discredited actors of SAG-AFTRA, and gone with what many within the industry label “scabs”. Back in 2017, Square-Enix decided not to re-cast those that were signed to union contracts to Deck Nine developed sequel to Life is Strange “Before the Storm”. Ashly Burch, who had been associated with the first title portraying the role of Chloe Price, would be informed that the studio would be seeking talent outside of SAG-AFTRA, to which a massive strike had occurred on the front of compensation and occupational health standards were met by companies that wanted to work independent. If Crunchyroll honestly think this won’t happen to them, they have another thing coming and possibly more. Initially, I was ignorant to the aforementioned Square-Enix debacle, but in private conversation with renowned actor and founder of Geek & Sundry, Felicia Day, I was filled in on the importance of union contracts to vocal artists in both gaming and anime.
Rahul Purini, President of Crunchyroll.
Since then, my tune has most definitely changed. The importance of voice actors having a union contract is more than a guaranteed amount, that they should rightfully be paid but also working conditions that should be met by corporations that contract third parties to working with talent. The fact that Crunchyroll are looking to avert this and blatantly insult fans of the series by recasting beloved roles for a series of cost cutting measures is absurd. Annually, Crunchyroll nets over $25million USD in profit, with an annual revenue of $392million USD per year. Their monthly revenue is estimated to be $10million USD. You’re telling me that they can’t spare the change to get union workers on a contract? Spare me. What is it? The bottled water? The warm tea? Maybe the lozenge that the actors have politely asked for when straining their vocal chords, sounding like their about to pass five kidney stones for 28 hours straight? That’s anime.
We reached out to Crunchyroll reps in regards to the situation, and received the exact same statement it had given other outlets;
So, this whole situation blows. I would prefer Crunchyroll would do the right thing by its subscribers, its fans, and the workers who have put countless hours into the previous two seasons of Mob Psycho 100 – a cast that has made the show into a global sensation – and reconsider their business strategy here, or let be plagued with this ignorance. I love this show, it’s one of my absolute all-time favourite anime’s, but if this is how Crunchyroll looks to restructure their business model and approach toward voice actors, then I think I might be skipping the next season. It’s not for anything, but changing the cast, changes the dynamic and feel of the show. Recasting characters for the sake of cost cutting leaves a bitter taste, and can be relayed through performance. I for one won’t support this, and hope Purini does right by everyone here, or at least some transparency as to this decision. Because it sucks.